Annual holiday market in Williams Lake a decades-long tradition

Willie and Audrey Dye at their Simply Dyevine Fudge booth at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Ben Maurer of Ben's Saddlery and Cowhorses has been leatherworking for around 20 years. While Maurer is originally from Switzerland, he now lives in Beaver Valley and have been there for around four years. Maurer was dressed up and on point at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Mary Harry of Williams Lake First Nation was selling her medicines and beading at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. Harry said she has grown up with medicines and wanted to share them with the greater community.  (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Mediums Mela Bilodeau and Laurel Collins at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. The pair were offering different services such as tarot card readings and numerology, which they said provide an opportunity for people to draw out archetypes to help face some of their issues, referring to it as a sort of "psychology in symbols." (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Patrons checking out some glass chimes incorporating upcycled and found materials at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cole Bailey, from left, Selene Bailey and Grace Bailey were all outfitted in some Medieval garb while helping out at their grandmother Julie Mann's Pioneer Pottery and Cariboo Laser booth at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
10 Day Notice was setting up to play on the main stage at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake just before 10 a.m. on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Abby Stewart, in front, was enjoying her first every Christmas market at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022 thanks to mom Becky Stewart. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Some of the unique and creative items at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Matt at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Author Sage Birchwater was well-situated to enjoy some live music while also manning his booth selling his own and some other books he has helped out with at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Kitchen staff volunteers Julia Zirnhelt, Maya Nowotny, and Lauren Neufeld help out behind the scenes at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Mother-daughter duo Cathy Norman and Alexis Hemond were staffing the Cariboo Potters Guild booth at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Mother-daughter duo Cathy Norman and Alexis Hemond were staffing the Cariboo Potters Guild booth at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
The talented young singer, songwriter Karlee Messer-Todd performs on the gym stage at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
One of the many pottery booths at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cole Patenaude and the Screech Owls start their set at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Kitchen staff volunteers Julia Zirnhelt, Maya Nowotny, and Lauren Neufeld help out behind the scenes at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. For the market, Lake City Secondary School students prepared food, including homemade salsa, fruit leather and baking, for sale. All proceeds of the annual market go to student programs. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)Kitchen staff volunteers Julia Zirnhelt, Maya Nowotny, and Lauren Neufeld help out behind the scenes at the Medieval Market in Williams Lake on Nov. 19, 2022. For the market, Lake City Secondary School students prepared food, including homemade salsa, fruit leather and baking, for sale. All proceeds of the annual market go to student programs. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

It might be impossible to go to the Medieval Market in Williams Lake and not see someone you know and to leave empty-handed.

Those seem to be two of the rules which repeat themselves each year for this Cariboo local, at least.

The market brings together music, food, local arts and crafts and merriment each year at the Lake City Secondary – Williams Lake campus, taking over much of the school.

Vendors plan for it all year, making their wares and replenishing their stock. Some reportedly book their booth location a year in advance to ensure they can get their preferred spot.

Shoppers plan for it each fall, knowing they can check a number of possible gift purchases off the list with local and unique items.

Each year there is something a little different and each year, some things can be counted on.

One of those things is the Simply DyeVine Fudge, which Willie and Audrey Dye have been selling at the market for around 32 years.

Dye jokingly refers to himself as “a poor but honest fudgemaker” and said he started out in his home kitchen making fudge on the stove as a Christmas thank you gift to clients.

“Until the day he boiled fudge over on the stove,” explained his wife Audrey, laughing as she described his much better set up now with copper kettles and a lift system for the large pots to avoid heavy lifting.

After making it as gifts for clients, he then told Audrey one year he was going to make a little extra and take it to the Medieval Market, which he said she was not exactly keen on initially.

But he said she later directed him he had to dress as something religious “because I’ve got my nun’s outfit” and he figured out she was on board.

They’ve been tending their booth, usually located right inside the main doors, for over three decades.

The couple have won “best booth” twice and Willie is happy to report he has second and third generations of customers returning to the booth now. He had a customer recount to him coming with her mom and buying fudge for the first time when she was 10 years old when she returned with her children in tow.

Simply Dyevine Fudge is just one of the staples many look forward to each year at the market, which is now a fundraiser for students at the high school, as well as an opportunity for students to gain volunteer experience and hours.

The market included live music by around 30 different acts over the course of the weekend and featured over 100 vendors.

Read more: Medieval Market returns to Williams Lake

Read more: OUR HOMETOWN: Weaving through life



ruth.lloyd@wltribune.com

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